The Heat may be the best basketball team in the nation, but when it comes to this city's public parks, Miami performs more like the miserable Marlins.
According to Parkscore rankings released yesterday, Miami is one of the worst major cities in the country when it comes to providing green space for its citizens. The Magic City came in at number 38, tied with Houston, Nashville, and Tucson. We were even way behind concrete wastelands like Oakland, Phoenix, and Detroit (although that last one is cheating: kudzu vines reclaiming dilapidated buildings doesn't count).
Oh my god. Are we really that hideous?
At first glance, the Parkscore results are pretty brutal. Not only are parks missing from Miami, but the ones we have are pathetically small. In fact, the only serious park in Miami proper is Virginia Key.
But on closer inspection, Miami isn't quite the festering scab on the face of the Earth that it first appears to be.
The Parkscore rankings ignore the rest of Miami-Dade County, where parks tend to be more spacious and plentiful. Miami Beach and its many miles of oceanfront parks are not included, for example.
But the rankings still hit home. A map on the Parkscore website shows the areas of Miami in need of green space: Brickell is pure blacktop. Little Havana looks like it's post-nuclear holocaust.
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The solution, at least, is straightforward. Instead of building $2 billion baseball parks, Miami needs to build some real parks. You know. The kind you can walk around without buying a ticket.